Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

"Tis the season, the Christmas season. I love this time of year when we have more opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Saviour and His life, death and resurrection Because of Jesus, I have hope of being forgiven of my sins as I repent, because He paid the price and has mercy on me. How fortunate we are to have a Heavenly Father and a Brother who love us so much they give us the gift of eternal life, that is, to live with Him forever.

We are given challenges and weaknesses so we might grow strong and learn to make the choices and learn to rely on Him. That will bring us to Him.

So we join Christendom in celebrating the birth of Jesus. One way our church members (and many others around the world) have chosen to celebrate His birth is with an exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world. This "Creche Exhibit" has been provided for the public for about the last 13 years. It gives us a quiet and beautiful reminder of what Christmas is all about.
For most of the four days of the exhibit, Christmas music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is played. One evening a program of live music is provided in the chapel. This year our little branch choir was invited to sing, and I am a member of the choir. Eventhough we were small in numbers, we received good feedback. We sang arrangements of "Were You There on that Christmas Night? and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. (We also sang these in our sacrament meeting today.) Six community groups and soloists, including our two church choirs performed. I was fascinated by the 5 piece Recorder Ensemble. With their simple instruments they harmonized music that made them sound heavenly.

My bit of wisdom today:  Look for the opportunities to tune into the Spirit of Christmas.  Music tugs at my heart the most; just ask my daughters when they sing spiritual songs if tears don't come readily to me.  So find a quiet time and tune into the message of Christmas; whether that is live nativities, Christmas programs, an inspiring story, your own traditions, or an uplifting production.  Feed your soul and appreciate that warm feeling of peace.

Posted by PicasaI like this quote from a friend:
May you have a wonderful Christmas
That your heart will be filled with love for
Christ, others, and yourself.
Remember, Christ loved you first.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Sweet Nectar

What is my favourite drink ever since we moved to this valley?  You know it.  Home made apple juice!  Would you rather this be a "how to" posting or for me to continue telling you how good it is?  How about both.  Mom and I picked free apples three times. 
The best juicers were the Spartans that Murray B. told us about.  The  last were tiny Red Delicious frozen on the tree.  I am still intrigued by the set up of 9 Hoover washing machines set up in the trailer.  This nice man said we are likely his last customers of the season.

We were fortunate to have helpers.  A new friend, Melanie helped Mom inside while the Elders worked outside.  The Elder takes our apples from inside the garage and pours a box into a little hopper where they roll into an electric chopper.  The owner of this outfit is holding a cloth bag.  His helper is pouring chopped apples into a bag inside the washing machine.  The machine is set for only the spin cycle, forcing the juice through the bag and into a pipe under the machines that collects the juice.  The other Elder puts a little vitimin C in the new pail of juice to keep it a more clear colour and brings it into the kitchen.  The apple pulp is dumped into the garbage can and the machine is ready for another spin.
 Inside everything is busy because many clean bottles must be rinsed with a purifying solution ready to be filled.  But first the juice must be pasturized.

The foam is first skimmed off and then placed in big pans on the stove to be heated to 180 F.  The juice is again skimmed and then poured into the bottles and capped.  It will keep for years but is usually all consumed before the next season.  Mom also put 14 ice-cream pails full in the freezer.  Frozen juice does not need to be pasturized.  I think frozen juice tastes fresher. 
She also sprinkled an enzyme powder on 25 gallons.  Overnight the solids in the juice all formed on the top or the bottom of the pail.  We use a little pump we bought years ago for this as it removes the juice without disturbing the sediment.  The clear juice looks the best but personally, I like the taste of the cloudy juice best. 
The next day I helped fill bottles with the clarified juice.
Of course Mom was in charge, but she appreciated me lifting the heavy pans of juice.  I have great motivation to help, because, I enjoy the juice so much.  Sometimes we add a stick of cinnamon and heat a glass in the microwave.  Sometimes I add ice.  Sometimes I add water to this concentrated juice.  It is good any time.  Also makes a unique gift at Christmas time and a treat when family visits.  Mom calculates our juice man made over 85 gallons.  Of that: 14.5 gallons frozen, 26 gallons in 1 gallon bottles, 15.5 gallons in half gallon bottles, for a total of 56 gallons put away.  The rest we are drinking or taken by Melanie and Debbie who also supplied apples and helped.  How's that for a year's supply?  Except for gas and labour, it cost only $50 plus $18 for crystals.  Anyone like to drop by for a drink of divine apple nectar?

Like the ant that worked vs the grasshopper that didn't, I like the satisfaction and enjoyment of gathering what others discard and making something delicious out of it.  Involving others makes it all the sweeter.